This was the last time we had a chance to spend time in Provence with my Mum and Dad, my sister, our children and our nephews. Dad passed away in November 2010 and we had to move Mum and Dad near my sister in Vendée soon after this trip as Dad could no longer show a brave face against his terminal illness and Mum couldn't cope anymore with his care.
We really enjoyed our time together and had a chance to take my sister away from her care duties for day trips here and there, as far as Grasse, or closer to Lourmarin, Gordes and Oppède-le-Vieux.
In many ways, our "Week in Provence" tour will be a pilgrimage but also a celebration of all the memories of Provence I have accumulated over some decades, including time with my maternal grandparents, my parents and my own family. Of all the places I have spent time in either to live or in vacation, this is probably still the place where I really feel connected with my ancestors.
It does help that the place is beautifully varied, home of some of the best cooking ingredients on the Planet, and of some of my favourite wines as well.
It will be a great privilege to be able to let you into my private world, visit markets and places I have known since childhood and share anecdotes that only a local can share with you. Being in a group of maximum 10 people will give us an intimacy prone to sharing not only good food and wine, but also some of the emotions which this place triggers in me and hopefully this will translate in a more profound experience for you as well.
We need a minimum of ten people to get the show on the road and we need to firm up our accommodation on July 27th at the very latest. If you are thinking of joining us, then click on the link below and we will send you the itinerary.
It will be much more than food and wine...Visiting beautiful villages as well as their artisans and artists will certainly be a highlight of the trip, so don't forget your credit card, you might need it...
So come and discover the hidden secrets of Provence with a local and we will blow your mind and your tastebuds, guaranteed! We can't wait to host you in our ancestral country...
We only have a few spots left on this tour and we are now calling the second deposit (50% if you are booking now, 45% if you have already paid your 5% deposit), which is due before the 27th of June. We will call the final payment on July 27th, but you can prepay now if you prefer.
Fisherman's soup: Bouillabaisse
By popular demand, and part of the promotion of our upcoming trip to Provence, I am reposting this recipe of the Bouillabaisse, probably the most famous fish soup in the World, or at least in my world....Enjoy with no moderation.
And yes, it is where it all started, in Marseille, a busy fishing and commercial port, now the second biggest city in France besides Paris. After a period of chaos and neglect, it has to be said that theCity of Marseille is back to a proper tourist, shopping and food destination, as it was when i was a little boy...
At the time, you would find some of the best bouillabaisses on the Vieux Port, and you could still probably find a proper one there, but you are probably better of moving to the Corniche and eat Chez Michel, or to the quaint little calanque of Vallon des Auffes and eat chez Fonfon. Or even better off to Cassis on the set of Marseilles or Martigues on the west, both about an hour drive away from Marselle.
My grandparents used to take us to either for what they thought was the best places for that local stew
Today, I would probably recommend Cassis, because of all the other attractions of the place, specially out of season - May, June, September and October being the best.
Well, after this lengthy introduction, I hope you are hungry and ready to go throughout all the steps of this fantastic recipe. There are various schools as how to serve this dish, whether you serve everything in one plate, or if you have it in two servings - I prefer the last one, hence it is how i served it today.
This has an influence on how you prepare it, and in today's case, I was not sure on the time at which we would have lunch, so I catered for that too in my preparation.
Now, what ingredients will you need?
Well, it is common to have three type of fish and probably some shellfish as well.
I had some salmon and turbot left from previous lunches in the freezer, and I found some barbounias at the Fish Market, which will do as my rock fish for today. The rule is to have white fish, another fatier one and some rockfish like rascasse, but they are out of season, and i also bought some mussels.
You will need onions - I used spanish and shallots - garlic (bien sûr...) and fennel, celery, carrots for and tomatoes the stock and potatoes to serve with the fish. Guillaume Brahimi adds some orange zest so I did!
Did I mention olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme? What would you do without these staple ingredients?
And, by the way, I asked the fishmonger to fillet the barbounias and give me the heads and bones also.
You will need about two hours to prepare and cook this dish, so plan ahead, specially if you have guests
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.
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